Thursday, January 16, 2014

How Changes to HP Firmware Updates Will Affect Customers

We’ve all heard the phrase, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” And now at HP, their customers are experiencing first-hand that there is no such thing as a free firmware update – anymore, at least. Affecting product lines such as HP EVA storage, firmware updates will now only be accessible through the HP Support Center (HPSC) with an active maintenance contract written by HP.

This means that any HP customers without an active, HP-written contractual support agreement, HP Care Pack service, or warranty will no longer be able to access firmware updates.  Up until December 2013, HP customers without an HP-written maintenance contracts still had download access to update their firmware without paying any fees.

Since similar changes have been made by other technology manufacturers including Cisco, IBM, and Oracle, HP states that this change “Is in line with our commitment to support entitled customers, whether directly or through authorized partners, and follows industry practices of protecting HP’s firmware and software updates.”

This forces customers to get maintenance directly from HP or through one of their partners, impacting customers who use 3rd party maintenance providers or who self-maintain their legacy equipment. These customers will be forced to make a decision because it affects them in two keys ways. First, it places them in a bit of a financial crunch since the cost of an HP maintenance contract can be hefty. Second, it causes technological issues since outdated firmware often has compatibility issues with new technologies.

By causing these pains for the customer, it seems that HP is trying to push their customers into a full-blown support contract for every product and, of course, to work with companies that benefit HP the most. While HP is claiming that “these changes will provide our customers with a consistent experience”, the benefit to the customer is truly yet to be determined since what used to be a free service is now an added expense to their already limited budgets.


  1. Sure. Just be honest with the customer and say this is another source of revenue. Explain that it costs money for product developers to continue R&D and improve product and this is costing us profits, so we now have charge. Simple as that. For the customer who had these services for free, this is bad because the ROI just dropped, since purchasing th equipment in the first place may have been justified by the fact that they would not have to pay for this kind of support. So HP must consider the value to the product line if a small percentage of customer move to another platform, refuse to pay the cost and what happens if there is an unpatched exploit which results in bad publicity for HP. And one might also argue that the customer would do well to consider what would be lost if they do not install and update that results in excessive downtime and lack of productivity.

  2. We are currently an HP shop. I say currently, because this change and another issue regarding the purchase of a new server might have me looking at other vendors. Worked with Dell for years at a previous employer, and never had problems. I'm not real impressed with this money grab.